Brain science is the least explored of all our science. As a result, there is a lot of fear, trepidation, and stigma associated with the invisible world of brain illnesses (referred to as “mental illnesses”). People are afraid to advocate for themselves and their loved ones, to get appropriate help in times of need.
But the brain is just another organ and, as such, can be healthy or unhealthy.
Dr. Richman and his wife, Jennifer Hensel, started the Avielle Foundation, committed to preventing violence and building compassion through brain health research, community education, and engagement, after their daughter, Avielle Rose Richman, was tragically killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, on December 14th, 2012.
The Avielle Foundation has been created to honor their loving daughter — along with all the others who have fallen victim to senseless violence — to truly understand what leads someone to engage in harmful behavior. They are working closely with world leaders in two vital areas: brain health research and community building.
In Dr. Richman’s incredibly engaging and lively presentations, he discusses what is known in regard to risk factors for engaging in violent behavior as well as protective factors for building connection and compassion. He examines the biological and environmental factors associated with violence and compassion and believes that once a deeper understanding has been established, we can apply these insights to educate the everyday citizen (students, parents, teachers, health care providers, and law enforcement) about how to identify the signs and symptoms of someone troubled or in crisis, how to responsibly advocate for those at risk of violence to themselves or others, and most importantly, how to foster healthy compassionate individuals connected to communities.
Dr. Richman has extensive research experience that spans the range from neuroscience and neuropsychopharmacology, to cardiovascular biology, diabetes, obesity, metabolic syndrome, immunology, and inflammation. He has worked in the research and drug discovery arena for over two decades and is passionate about helping people live happier and healthier lives. Dr. Richman is dedicated to reaching out and educating youth and believes our future relies on their imaginations. This is manifest in his teaching martial arts, biology, neuroscience, and rock climbing to children and teens for the past 25 years. Most importantly, he believes it is critical to empower youth to advocate for themselves and their peers when it comes to brain health and brain illnesses. Dr. Richman is the CEO of the Avielle Foundation and has a Faculty Lecturer appointment in the Department of Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine.
“Dr. Richman’s talk on Saturday was fantastic!” – Yvette Saliba, 9th Annual Counseling Conference – Leaning into Loss: Developing Strategies for Hope and Thriving, College of Education and Human Performance – University of Central Florida
“Thank you for coming to the Clinton School to speak and for everything you and Jennifer are doing…It’s a great way to honor your daughter. I’m very grateful for all you’re doing.“ – President Bill Clinton
“I admire and respect Jeremy as a parent, scientist, and as an advocate for children. I have been in the business for 40 years and I put Dr. Richman to the front of the line regarding message and impact…….a rare combination of intelligence and common sense coupled with a complete understanding of best practice and the problem of practice….refreshing and inspirational!” – Dr. Joseph V. Erardi, Jr., Superintendent of Schools – Newtown, CT Public Schools
“Jeremy’s talk was awesome… I thought his perspective was wonderful.” – Victoria Magers – Mississippi Counseling Association
“I, personally, enjoyed Dr. Richman’s presentation and have heard nothing but rave reviews from our board of directors and meeting attendees.” – Jeanine Santelli, Executive Director – ANA – New York
“Jeremy was beyond a success — he completely enraptured the entire audience, all of whom wanted more.” – Melanie Greenberg, President and CEO – Alliance for Peacebuilding
“Much to the delight of thousands of professional counselors, Dr. Jeremy Richman presented a truly engaging, powerful, and inspiring keynote address at the American Counseling Association Conference in Montreal. What a privilege it was to meet Dr. Richman as he shared his work on brain health and discussed the amazing power of compassion to mitigate violent behaviors! My focus as ACA President has been on social action advocacy around the issues of bullying and interpersonal violence. Dr. Richman’s presentation and his moving testimony, with a message that reframes mental illness into brain health, was refreshing and empowering for professional counselors everywhere. Incidences of bullying and interpersonal violence happen far too often in our world and I so appreciate Dr. Richman’s commitment to the kind of research and education that can literally save lives.” – Thelma Duffey, Ph.D., President, American Counseling Association – Professor and Chair, The University of Texas at San Antonio
“You can’t attend Jeremy’s talk about violence and compassion without coming away with a renewed sense of purpose. He is an amazingly positive and energetic speaker with a compelling story to tell about the causes of violence in our society— all backed up by scientific studies and data. As a father and scientist personally touched by a violent act, he tackles the topic of combating violence in an unexpected way, by focusing instead on teaching compassion and removing the stigma around mental health, by reframing it as ‘brain health’.” – Kathleen L. Gould, Ph.D.; Director, Vanderbilt International Scholar Program – Vanderbilt University School of Medicine
“I wanted to send this note to say your presentation on Brain Science was tremendously well received by the nurses who attended the Workplace Violence Program. The specific program evaluations and general response to the information you shared in your presentation at our seminar was amazing. The nurses stated they could have listened to you for hours and have requested you to return and participate in a future educational program for the Massachusetts Nurses Association. Thank you!” — Chris Pontus Massachusetts Nurses Association
“Jeremy brought a message that appealed to the broad audience represented in our Student Health Services and Counseling and Mental Health Services staff. Certainly folks appreciated his research and embedding his message within the data. But in meetings that followed staff regularly returned to his heartfelt messages – most especially the importance of communication and community, of not making assumptions of others and showing compassion. Jeremy’s work and his ability to turn toward love and a commitment to violence prevention is an inspiration, and our staff have commented that this was the ‘best opening meeting we’ve ever had’.” – Elizabeth J. Cracco, Ph.D. Director, Counseling and Mental Health Services, University of Connecticut
“We were honored to have Dr. Jeremy Richman as our keynote speaker at our conference…His reframing of “mental illness” to “brain health” is a powerful, positive shift in thinking- a true leap forward in the social consciousness of understanding the brain and behavior. Because he brings together the neuroscience background with his very personal mission to build awareness, his presentation was powerful on many levels. Moreover, his style is highly accessible for both academic and practitioner audiences. I received very positive feedback—for weeks afterward— from impressed audience members on how his talk fundamentally changed the conversation to “brain health” in a way that pushes us all to look forward for different interventions. “ – Dr. Jennifer M. Balboni, Ph.D., Co-Director, Master of Arts in Criminal Justice Program, Curry College
“Jeremy Richman is an anomaly. Aside from being wonderfully engaging, super informative, intelligent, and incredibly inspiring given his innovations in brain health research (and yes, his audiences can understand him!), he absolutely lives up to his own mantra: “You Can Imagine…” by promoting and fostering empathy, compassion, and deep connectivity within communities through the fascinating lens of neuroscience. Bottom line, Jeremy is bent on making the world a safer and more compassionate place.” – Lee Keylock, Director of Programs, Narrative 4